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Eelam Tamil refugees in India driven to desperation

File photo: Eelam refugees in India in 2012. European Commission DG ECHO

Eelam Tamil refugees living in India have expressed their disappointment at being excluded from India’s Citizenship Amendment Act after decades of displacement in Tamil Nadu - driving one man to request a mercy killing.

Twenty-eight-year-old T. Yanadhan, who was born in Tamil Nadu after his parents fled Sri Lanka, approached the District Collectorate in Salem to officially request a mercy killing from Indian authorities, stating that he was better off dead than living stateless, reports HuffPost India.

“My request reflects the collective mood of all Sri Lankan refugees,” he said. “We are going through mental agony after the law was enacted. Now we belong nowhere and are a liability to both countries.”

“I feel the government cheated us. So I preferred a mercy killing for myself.”

He has sent copies of his petition to both Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit.

According to official Indian data, Yanadhan is among 95,000 others that are currently seeking refuge in Tamil Nadu. Most live in over 100 state-run camps, while other Eelam Tamils live elsewhere across the states, but must periodically reporting to the Indian police.

Other Eelam Tamils in the state have also lamented the lack of progress in granting them citizenship, with life in the camps full of insecurity and surveillance by Indian security forces. 

K. Makikkavasagam (name changed on request), an inmate of Mandapam camp near Rameswaram, told HuffPost India

“In the camps, we live in the shadow of fear and insecurity. We are not allowed to move around in town. There are restrictions on talking to the media. All our basic rights have been curtailed. Three or four decades in a camp means you are incapable of doing anything worthwhile in life. We are always discriminated.”

See more from HuffPost India, including interviews with other Eelam Tamil refugees in camps across Tamil Nadu, here.


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